How do you see blackness? What does it look like? Can it be shown? In seeming response to such uncertainties, artists Renée Green, Satch Hoyt, and Sheila Pree Bright forgo representation of the black body altogether. In installation and photographic works—Seen (1990), Say It Loud (2004), and Suburbia (2005–7), respectively—they instead present spaces seemingly for any body, black or otherwise, within contexts that signify black lives, histories, and experiences. The works affirm that the nature of blackness is not a given, while they demonstrate ways in which it has come to be regarded as such. Via texts, sounds, and objects the artists challenge us to see, not bodies, but the cultural constructions of and around them. Moreover, Green, Hoyt, and Bright demonstrate that blackness cannot be seen or shown by any body, or, rather, no body is perfect.
Research Article|November 01 2016
No Body’s Perfect
Kanitra Fletcher is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University. She is currently based in Houston, Texas, and serves as curator of video art for Landmarks, the public art program of the University of Texas at Austin.
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Nka (2016) 2016 (38-39): 142-151.
Kanitra Fletcher; No Body’s Perfect. Nka 1 November 2016; 2016 (38-39): 142–151. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-3641788
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